Here goes another army story. While in basic training I developed an ulcer that held me back approximately six weeks. I had two weeks to go to complete training and so I was placed with a new group of trainees. At one point they were going to what was then called “soldier’s stakes.” I had already been through that and didn’t particularly want to experience it again. The opportunity came to get out of it. All I had to do was to volunteer for KP duty and I was home free – Or so I thought. In my mind I could see myself getting off duty around four o’clock or so and having the rest of the day free while my fellow trainees went through the grueling experience out in the field.
Only, it didn’t happen that way. I began KP duties at around six o’clock that morning. The breakfast shift wasn’t so bad. Then it was time for lunch and we seemed to cruise through that too. The evening meal was a bit harder but as four o’clock approached I looked forward to having some free time. Then they told me that we’d have to stay and clean the equipment and dishes of the soldiers out in the field. That was my group. The dishes began arriving at five o’clock and they just kept coming. I think we finally finished up around eight o’clock that evening and when I finally got back to the barracks my fellow trainees had already had an hour of free time. I guess the joke was on me!
The point is that even though it wasn’t what I had envisioned I got what I wanted. But in life we don’t always get what we want do we? Many have asked the question, “If God is real why can’t He hear me?” They say that because they have petitioned God in prayer and it doesn’t appear that anything is happening. First let’s look at what John wrote under the inspiration of God in 1 John 5:14-15. It says, “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.” Sounds pretty simple, huh? So why haven’t we received our answer? Why does God delay? Did He really hear me?
The most obvious key is found in verse 14 where it said “if we ask anything according to His will…” So after we have done that, why does it seem that He still refuses to answer? Some may say, “I have asked for healing but He has not answered.” Or “I asked God to make a way for me to minister for Him but He has let me fail.” What about “I have asked for financial relief but still the bills roll in.” Others, “I have asked for salvation for my loved ones but it seems they keep on getting worse.” Here’s a good one, “I have asked for patience but all I seem to get is tribulation.” (Remember that the Bible says tribulation brings patience).
First of all God wants us to stand in faith no matter the situation or outcome. Faith isn’t to be measured by how often God has answered our prayers but how we stand in the face of delayed answers, or whether it seems we’ve been answered at all. Faith is firm regardless and despite circumstances.
When we have asked according to God’s will we think that we need an immediate answer. Being from the “now” age we want instant results. God will answer however it will be in the way that is best and in the right timing. God knows people. He knows that we are all different and He never answers systematically or in the same way for everyone. He knows our unique situation and His answers will be according to what we need to learn from the experience, and what is really best for us. That may not be what we want to hear but it is also exciting because it means He cares for us individually.
When we push the matter it could turn out like my KP duty; not exactly what we envisioned and perhaps a harder road than we thought it would be. God is real. He does answer prayer. But His answers will be just what we need when we need it. Rest assured, He does hear every word you pray.
Jerry D. Ousley is the author of “Soul Challenge”, “Soul Journey”, “Ordeal”, “The Spirit Bread Daily Devotional and his first novel “The Shoe Tree.” Email us to receive your copy today! He can be heard Monday through Friday on Internet Radio. Log on to http://www.spiritbread.com to find out more. Email: [email protected]
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